Roosting Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheSpiceGirls, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have four hens who are 14 weeks old. I raised them in the garage in a brooder and put in a wooden dowel for them to roost on, which they did.

    Then I moved them out to their protected run which has their house in the run. The first few nights, they all slept together on the floor of the house in the pine shavings. Not unusual I thought. But then I wondered if they could easily get up to the roosting bar. So I put an upside down flower pot in their house so they had something to hop onto and then up to the roosting bar. And they used it. I watched them.

    So they've been out there for for a good month now. This weekend I was cleaning out the floor of the house and noticed that there were lots of droppings off the back of the flower pot and not just under the roosting bar. I wondered if someone was sleeping on the flower pot. And indeed. I went out the past few nights and my Black Jersey Giant is perfectly happy sleeping on top of the flower pot and the other girls are up on the roosting bar.

    Which I guess is fine. I've read that Jersey Giants shouldn't roost up too high because when they are fully grown (they can get up to 10 pounds) they are so heavy that they can fracture a leg when they hop down from the roosting bar.

    Do any of you have a hen who insists on sleeping someplace other than with her sisters? Do you see any reason why this should be an issue? And do you think the flower pot is just fine? Or should I create some sort of shorter roosting bar for her so her toes curl over the edge rather than lay flat on top of the pot?
     
  2. KimM

    KimM Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't have a hen that does this, but don't see why it would be a problem either. She might be low on the pecking order. I might try putting something taller than the flowerpot in there if you think the distance from the pot to the roost is too great for her, then you would know if it's too high for her or if she just doesn't want to sleep up there.

    I also don't think that her feet being flat instead of curled is an issue- I switched from using a branch as a roost to a 2x4 on it's side because I heard that it was better for their feet to be flat to prevent frostbite.
     
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think she's low on the pecking order. I only had four birds. Had to rehome one last night that turned out to be a roo. So now I just have three. I felt the roo was the top of the pecking order and this other hen was next. So I fully expect her to take over the lead spot.

    The top of the flower pot is only a few inches below the roosting bar. My hen house is quite small. I'll post a photo.

    [​IMG]

    I was more worried about her feet and the fact that the pot would be cold until she warmed it up. But I am in California so it never gets really cold here. And I'm sure if she was cold, she could step up the few extra inches to snuggle up next to a sister.

    So if anyone can't think of a reason why it's bad for her to sleep there, then I'll just leave her alone. I already feel bad rocking their world by rehoming the rooster. They all got along so well.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    What is diameter of wooden dowel?
     
  5. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Their current roosting bar is a 2 by 4 and they roost on the 2" side.
     
  6. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    I have given up trying to get birds to roost anywhere other than were they want to...I figure I make it...if they want to use it great if they don't that is fine as well but don't whine when you get cold...
     
  7. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's so true. They really do have a mind of their own. Sounds like there is no issue with her roosting on the flower pot so I'm going to leave her alone. Next time I'm at the hardware store, maybe I'll see if they don't have a big block of wood for cheep and I could even attach a roosting bar to the top of that.

    But for now, I'm going to just leave her alone.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My birds do like to curl toes around roost which reads like the Jersey can do. If she is last to go to roost, does she have enough room on intended roost? Sometimes room can include wing flapping space during the positioning process.
     
  9. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, yes. Plenty of room. The roosting bar is 3 feet long and I just have the three birds. And once they are up there, they all snuggle together and take up about a third of the bar. That can't be it. I did wonder if maybe she has her favorite place in line and if she can't be there, then she's not going up there at all.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I ran into a problem with a roost design where the birds were real picky about how they actually got onto roost dowel. First arrivals would not get out of way for late comers and late comers would not use an alternative and sometimes easier access point. Late comers would then roost on launch point to intended roost.
     

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